Carnival to Sail From U.S. to Cuba

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The cruise ship Adonia, from Carnival's new Fathom line, is slated to sail to Cuba from the U.S. every other week starting May 1. ENLARGE
The cruise ship Adonia, from Carnival’s new Fathom line, is slated to sail to Cuba from the U.S. every other week starting May 1. Photo: European Pressphoto Agency

Carnival Corp. CCL -1.27 % on Friday said Cuba-born passengers will be able to travel on its cruise ships sailing to the country from the U.S.

The cruise operator, which is dual listed in the U.S. and Britain, said it worked closely with the island nation to allow travel on its ships to be given the same status as air charters, which already can transport people born in Cuba in both directions.

Its maiden voyage there will be May 1, marking the first time in more than 50 years a cruise ship has been able to sail from the U.S. to Cuba, and the first time in decades that native Cubans will be able to sail to and from Cuba.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. said it was discussing with Cuban authorities to allow Cubans to enter and exit the country on its ships.

Miami-based Norwegian operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands.

On Monday, Carnival had warned that the weeklong inaugural trip could be delayed if Cuba couldn’t decide by the launch date but that it was continuing discussions.

Last week, Carnival said its new Fathom brand was taking bookings to Cuba from all travelers—including individuals born in Cuba—in anticipation of an agreement.

Fathom’s 704-passenger Adonia luxury cruise ship is slated to sail to Cuba every other week.

The Obama administration in March unveiled some of the most extensive changes in decades to rules on U.S.-Cuba trade, financial transactions and travel, including a provision that effectively lifts the long-standing ban on American tourists visiting the country.

“We are a part of making history again today,” Carnival Chief Executive Arnold Donald said.

Fathom President Tara Russell said the company has seen “tremendous interest in the incredible Cuba journey” and “we are ecstatic that this historic opportunity is open to everyone who wants to travel to Cuba.”

Anne Steele at Anne.Steele@wsj.com



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